Model Discussion and Facilitation Series with Donors Forum

Donors Forum is a regional association of grantmakers. It is the premier resource for networking and education, information and knowledge, and leadership and advocacy on behalf of philanthropy and nonprofits in Illinois.


The act of reflecting in and with a community of peers is one of the most important acts that grantmakers can take to inform our work and worth, and yet it is the one responsibility that we fall short on many times.


--Grantmaker, Donors Forum

Audience Focus

Directors and members of Chicago-area philanthropic organizations.


  1. Help members and directors to reflect on a deeper level about the nature of philanthropy and their own civic roles
  2. Strengthen relationships among Chicago-area philanthropic leaders
  3. Increase commitment to compassionate and responsible philanthropic work
Donors Forum members talking in a circle

Project Description

In 2004, CCR founder, Elizabeth Lynn, was a featured speaker at a Donors Forum members' luncheon. Her speech -- an introduction to civic reflection and its relationship to philanthropic organizations -- sparked interest in civic reflection as a tool to think and talk about questions at the heart of giving and philanthropy: "What do we expect from those to whom we give? How do we draw the line between helping others and imposing our will on others?"

Following Lynn's presentation and a facilitation training, the Donors Forum began convening regular civic reflection sessions with its board of directors and, later, with members and affinity groups within the Donors Forum membership. Over time, civic reflection became an integral part of the culture of the Donors Forum, with regular luncheon civic reflection sessions structuring necessary conversations about giving and philanthropy.


  1. Participants reported a stronger sense of community among Chicago-area philanthropic leaders
  2. Participants reported being exposed to new ideas, perspectives, and ways of thinking about their work
  3. Participants reported increased commitment to create positive changes in philanthropic practice
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